A few weeks ago, we went along to the  e-commerce expo and we learnt, well, a lot! There were some useful talks covering email marketing, ways to personalise your website to generate sales and mobile optimisation.

However, I think I learnt the most from picking the brains of some of the 300 or so businesses that were exhibiting their services in the room. Leaving with a far better knowledge of all things digital, I was also struck by the many different ways those exhibiting presented themselves. There were stalls with bands belting out some classic tunes, life-size walking animals giving out sweets, to stands set up as ‘network lounges’ with a clan of identical suits tapping away on some rather impressive computers.

Dyn use live music to attract attention

Animal costume promote exhibition stand out tips

Parcel Monkey bring a friend to help promote their stall

 Here are the four things I took away about presenting at an exhibition:      

1. Put the right people on the stall.

Yes its a long day, but where else do you have the opportunity to deliver a targeted face-face message to a host of potential customers. Staff need to appear keen, enthusiastic and most importantly prepared. Make sure the people you take are the ones able to keep that grin up for the day and build a personal connection. The people in your booth are the embodiment of your company and there’s nothing that leaves a bad taste in the mouth quite like making the effort to go and speak to a company and being greeted by an unenthusiastic grump. The best conversations? Exhibitors that got straight to the subject in hand and personalised their pitch by immediately finding out about our business.

2. Offer freebies, but not at the expense of everything else.

With a decidedly sweet tooth I appreciate a good cupcake and undoubtedly will hang around a booth peddling food. This was a technique used by many with cakes and chocolate present on most stalls. Other promotional items to consider that worked well were branded stress balls, golf tees and the usual suspects of bags and pens. One stall was offering coffee, a good idea, however it appeared to be at the expense at the rest of the stall which was bare. Moreover, despite the wait for a coffee being a perfect opportunity to instigate a conversation they were leaving visitors alone to collect their coffee and leave.
While they had branded the cups with directions to the stall, I am still struggling to understand the tagline?

Branded Coffee Cup

 

A good idea perhaps, but not fully formed.

3. Be unusual in your method of presentation

My favourite pitch of the two days was the company who demonstrated their product in action on a laptop and Ipad. An enthusiastic, prepared pitch and one that used different media to used to bring the idea alive.

4. Wear promotional clothing

I was surprised about the amount of exhibitors is suits and found it difficult to tell who was merely browsing at a stall and who was working for the company to talk to. Undoubtedly the firms making a big impact both in terms of brand awareness and being easily identifiable were those in branded promotional clothing.

My personal favourite were these bright pink t-shirts from the email marketing company Dot Mailer. Standing out in the sea of suits these pink polos worked well with the overall branding colours.

Tradeshow clothing exhibition

Dot Mailer standing out from the crown in their customised promotional clothing

 

And one a final idea:

Don’t forget that these people selling to you could also be your customers. Our marketing director found a few occasions to give out some business cards. It was the perfect time to illustrate the importance of promotional clothing!

 

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